Vacant Since Fire
Officials eager to raze historic
Friday, May 18, 2007
By Maureen Nolan Staff writer
Nearly six years ago the owner of a historic eyesore on Butternut Street
won a legal battle for the right to demolish the building. Then he let it
The Loos building, which is vacant, boarded up and streaked with
graffiti, dominates the intersection of Butternut and Park streets, but
maybe not for long. The city is moving to bring it down.
Common Councilor-at-large Bill Ryan and city Economic Development
Director David Michel said the building is among a dozen or so on a list of
properties the city wants to demolish with $500,000 from the Syracuse
Industrial Development Agency.
Ryan said the city is in the final stages of making a deal about the
demolition with owner Tino Marcoccia, who owns numerous properties on
Butternut and in Syracuse, according to city records.
Marcoccia bought the three-story brick building in 1999 for $80,000,
according to city records. It's been vacant since a fire in 1996 drove out
its last tenant, a drugstore.
Ryan said he understands the city can't force Marcoccia to tear the
building down because its condition isn't bad enough to condemn, and its
property taxes are current.
Colleen Deacon, a spokeswoman for Mayor Matt Driscoll, said Corporation
Counsel Rory McMahon would not talk about the building's status because he
is negotiating with the owner on various properties.
When reached by telephone twice over two days, Marcoccia said he didn't
have time to be interviewed about the property. He said only that demolition
would be the best thing that could happen and that he had not torn it down
because he wasn't ready.
Marcoccia said the city is not going to pay to tear it down. The city
would not comment on who would cover the cost.
Ryan said the building is an eyesore that should go. He said he hears
complaints about the building at every North Side neighborhood meeting he
He has promised the neighborhood that the building will be down by
Tearing the building down became an issue for Marcoccia in 2000. He said
it would cost too much to renovate it, and the city Planning Commission gave
him permission to raze it and redevelop the site.
The Preservation Association of Central New York went to court to try to
block the demolition. The 1895 building is a designated local historic site
designed by Archimedes Russell, the city's best-known architect.
All the same, the court said, Marcoccia could tear the building down.
Even now, its demolition would be a loss, said Don Radke, chair of the
city Landmark Preservation Board, and Sam Gruber, president of the
Preservation Association Board.
"In the last five years we've seen a dramatic increase in interest and
success in converting older buildings of this type into mixed-use or
residential units, and we've seen that downtown, but we've also begun to see
it on the North Side, in particular on North Salina Street," Gruber said.
If the city and building owner had the will, it could have happened at
the Loos building, he said.
Maureen Nolan can be reached at 470-2185 or firstname.lastname@example.org
© 2007 The Post-Standard.